Chaos As 80 MPs Defy Repayment Demands

(Telegraph) – ATTEMPTS BY THE HOUSE OF COMMONS to draw a line under the expenses scandal have been dealt a blow by 80 MPs who have defied demands to repay hundreds of thousands of pounds.

The number of appeals against the findings of the audit of MPs’ claims was far higher than the Commons authorities had anticipated, threatening the timetable for making repayment details public.

Around 200 MPs are thought to have been asked to return money from claims with around a third of those submitting appeals by the 3pm deadline yesterday.

Angry MPs hit out at demands to return four and five figure sums, with one accusing Sir Thomas Legg, who led the audit team, of acting “dishonestly”.

Sources had indicated that around 50 initial appeals were anticipated following the investigation into five years of claims, of which at least 20 were expected to be withdrawn before next Wednesday’s deadline for submitting supporting paperwork.

Sir Paul Kennedy, the former high court judge who has been asked to hear cases in which MPs dispute the Legg findings, had hoped to complete his work by the middle of January.

But the scale of the defiance threatens to overwhelm Sir Paul, with belligerent MPs angry at what they see as the Legg review’s retrospective rulings unlikely to withdraw their appeals.

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